‘Don’t feel SAD’, might be heard a bit too often these days. Yes, the shorter days and longer nights do have an impact on your mood and make you a victim of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Known amongst psychiatrists as SAD, this disorder seems to have a direct relation with the amount of exposure to sunlight hence its nomenclature as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
While some enjoy the winters, it is not uncommon for some to suffer from mood swings, disinterest in everything, low energy levels, craving for sleep and a dull mood during this time of the year. Psychiatrists explain that with exposure to sunlight the pineal gland in the brain modulates the neurotransmitters, which in turn has an effect on the mood. That light encourages the neurotransmitters and deprivation from it leads to this problem of SAD.
In some circumstances, people without any history of depression feel gloomy during winters and cloudy climatic conditions, while in other cases this seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is seen in people who have a history of major depressive disorder. About 10 to 15 per cent of people who have a tendency of major depressive disorder show up with seasonal affective disorder during winters. And in these cases the circumstances get so bad that they can’t work and their normal routine life activities gets badly disrupted. These patients cannot concentrate, their thought process gets slower and their memory also gets affected to a great extent, and the problem escalates to such a level that people are incapable of continuing with their daily life activities.
According to psychiatrists, this kind of a disorder was earlier seen only in developed countries of the west, but nowadays many people are leading the same kind of sedentary lifestyle as seen in the West. So a similar lifestyle has brought about the influx of this disorder, which is seen only during winters. Most of the people who seek help for winter depression come to the doctor only after bearing with the problem for two to three years. When they notice that every year during this season they are undergoing the same problem, only then do they seek medical intervention.
The treatment for this kind of depression is either pharmacotherapy or cognitive behaviour therapy. These cases are more common in colder regions, but nowadays with sedentary lifestyle being the order of the day in urban areas SAD has become a reality in Indian cities as well. As preventive steps to keep SAD at bay, it is better to indulge in some physical activities. Maybe that way SAD will make way for happy.
Steps to prevent SAD: